Samsung: Foldable phones are a stopgap for wearable displays

Samsung may be desperately trying to get its Galaxy Fold into the hands of consumers, but is already planning for life beyond the foldable smartphone.

At the same time as he called the Galaxy Fold saga “embarrassing”, Samsung CEO DJ Koh said the category will assist in the transition beyond the limitations of traditional smartphone design.

Koh said foldables will only be around for a “couple of years” before smartphones are replaced by 5G powered smart devices that rely more on AI and the IoT infrastructure.

“[The] previous 10 years, it was an era of the smartphone,” said Koh (via ZDNet) “From this year, maybe a new era is opening because of the emergence of the internet of things, 5G, AI, and all these technologies mingling together. The new era is in front of us.”

Koh said that the switch from foldable to wearable phones will be so “seamless” that “in five years or so, people will not even realise they are wearing screens.” He added that “smartphones may decline, but new devices will emerge.”

The comments come amid criticism over Samsung’s failings with bringing its first major foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, to market.

Related: Foldable phones you’ll love or hate

The launch was pulled back in April after multiple reviewers experienced broken displays within hours of testing the groundbreaking device. Samsung is working diligently to cure the ills, in the hope of bringing the device to market in due course.

During the same session with selected members of the media, including The Independent, Koh admitted to rushing the handset out too soon.

He said: “It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready. I do admit I missed something on the foldable phone, but we are in the process of recovery.

“At the moment, more than 2,000 devices are being tested right now in all aspects. We defined all the issues. Some issues we didn’t even think about it but thanks to our reviewers, mass volume testing is ongoing.”

He asked fans, some of whom have had pre-orders cancelled, to “give us a bit more time” ahead of the relaunch.

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